The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Holes in Buddha's house
- Minister says police most corrupt, his wing next

Midnapore, Oct. 28: In common perception, police was always the most corrupt among government departments. A senior member of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's cabinet confirmed today that it is so indeed.

Abdur Rezzak Mollah, the minister for land and land reforms, also gave pride of place to his own department, which 'comes right after police in terms of corruption'.

The chief minister himself looks after the police department. Mollah, though, has never been known as a Bhattacharjee buddy.

The minister chose to take on his boss' fief when the force is facing flak for failure to check crime, especially against women. In the mood for introspection in Contai, East Midnapore, Mollah also touched upon issues like poor work culture and indiscipline among government employees ' both oft-expressed concerns of the chief minister.

About 160 km from Calcutta, Mollah inaugurated the subdivisional land revenue and land development office built at a cost of Rs 38 lakh and urged employees to shun the attitude of 'aashi jai mainey pai, upri chhara kaaj nai'. The rhyme roughly translates to 'we come, we go, we get salary, but to get work done, you pay money'.

'Even our employees at the lower levels have learnt ABC. A for avoid, B for bypass (responsibility) and C for confidential, which means something is in the confidential file and cannot be touched. The ABC policy is applied when the common man approaches them. This is the way commoners are being harassed. Work is being done only on payment of a bribe,' said Mollah who, like the chief minister, is an MLA from South 24-Parganas.

As the minister slammed the attitude of government employees, CPM's zilla parishad sabhadhipati Niranjan Shi and additional district magistrate (land and land reforms) Liakat Ali looked on.

Mollah said: 'We are losing out heavily on revenue because of a section of corrupt employees. Land is also not being distributed properly among farmers...'

The minister also asked the employees to be punctual and prompt. The panchayat was told to keep vigil on officers who collect revenue. He reminded that the employees' salaries and perks were drawn from public money. 'So people's problems will have to be attended to with priority.

'The car I use was not gifted by my father. It was bought with public money. The Rs 250-crore salary paid to employees of the department is collected from the public.'

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